Aurora Christian

57 Days to Kickoff: Aurora Christian

57 Days to Kickoff: Aurora Christian

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Aurora Christian

Head coach: David Beebe

Assistant coaches: John Jira - Defensive Coordinator, Dean Griffing - Special Teams and Defensive Line, Nate Perry - Linebackers and Running Backs, Dave Erffmeyer - Defensive Assistant, Cody Slamans - Defensive Backs, Grayson Roberts - Assistant Offensive Coordinator, Josh Kok - Offensive Line, Chris Griffing - Quality Control, Chad Henry - Offensive Assistant and Matt Simonson - Defensive Assistant

How they fared in 2018: 8-4 (3-3 Metro Suburban Blue Conference). Aurora Christian made the Class 1A state playoff field and defeated Kewanee and Princeville. They lost to Lena Winslow in the quarterfinal round. 

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 30 vs Urban Prep-West
Sept. 6 vs Urban Prep-Bronzeville
Sept. 13 vs Aurora Central Catholic
Sept. 20 vs Riverside-Brookfield
Sept. 27 @ IC Catholic Prep
Oct. 4 vs St. Francis
Oct. 11 @ Bishop McNamara
Oct. 18 vs Guerin Prep
Oct. 25 @ Wheaton Academy

Biggest storyline: After a solid postseason run last season, can the Eagles make a deeper run in the Class 1A state playoff field in 2019?

Names to watch this season: QB Ethan Hampton (Jr.), RB/DB Josh Dornick (Soph.) and OL Bryce Henderson (Sr.)

Biggest holes to fill: The Eagles welcome back several experienced starters this fall but need to add more overall depth and numbers— especially on the defensive line.

EDGY's Early Take: The Eagles managed to survive a stacked Metro Suburban Blue slate which included taking on two 4A state title contenders in IC Catholic Prep and Bishop McNamara. The conference schedule remains loaded but look for the Eagles’ offense to be explosive. They’re led by junior QB Ethan Hampton and a host of speedy and impressive receivers and backs. This Eagles team could very well end up playing deep into the state playoff field again if they can survive the regular season schedule. 

Recruiting News and Notes: I'Shawn Stewart continues to draw interest

Recruiting News and Notes: I'Shawn Stewart continues to draw interest

I'Shawn Stewart (WR), Bolingbrook

Bolingbrook junior three-star ranked wide receiver I'Shawn Stewart (5-foot-11, 165 pounds) thought he would have been committed by now, but still remains uncommitted.

"I'm still waiting," Stewart said. "We've had 24 different college coaches in school so far. My plan is to see how the spring evaluation period goes for me and I'm also planning to go to a few college camps. I'm planning to camp at both Wisconsin and Michigan State this summer. Penn State has also been showing more interest. They came into school not too long ago and they are suppose to be back in this Friday to watch a team workout. I might also camp at Penn State this summer but I haven't set anything up yet. "

Stewart has scholarship offers from Eastern Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Miami (OH), Nevada, NIU, Syracuse, Toledo and Western Michigan.

Jaylan Alexander (ILB), Hoffman Estates

Hoffman Estates junior inside linebacker Jaylan Alexander (6-foot-2, 225 pounds) has added several scholarship offers and increased recruiting attention this spring. 

"Recruiting has been good," Alexander said. "I have some nice offers so far and we have been seeing a lot of college coaches in school over the past few weeks. I have offers so far from NIU, Western Kentucky, Illinois State, Eastern Michigan, Western Illinois, Central Michigan and Bowling Green. I've been in touch quite a bit with Wyoming, South Dakota and North Dakota and those schools seem like they could be pretty close to offering."

[RELATED: Oswego's Noah Shannon becomes latest Illinois player to commit to Minnesota]

Sam Barkalow (TE), Forreston

Keep an eye out on Class 1A state champion Sam Barkalow (6-foot-6, 220 pounds). Barkalow, a three-sport athlete who was a key two-way starter for the Cardinals last season, has seen increased recruiting interest this spring. 

"My recruiting has been going well," Barkalow said. "I've been in touch with some of the Ivy League schools, along with some of the FCS schools in the Dakotas, plus some DII schools. Harvard, North Dakota State, Northern Michigan have been in school already, along with some smaller level colleges. The coaches all want me to come out and camp with them this summer."

Denver Warren (DT), West Aurora

West Aurora freshman defensive tackle Denver Warren (6-foot-3, 285 pounds) has been highly impressive on the camp circuit, and he recently added his first two BCS offers from Iowa State and Central Michigan.

"It's awesome to add two offers already," Warren said. "I spoke with the coaches at Iowa State on last week, and then about a half hour later I also talked to Central Michigan and they also extended me an offer. I'm just really excited and so is my family."

Warren, who played last fall at Aurora Christian before transferring to West Aurora, was more than a bit surprised to add two early scholarship offers.

"When I added the first offer from Iowa State I was still a little in shock," Warren said. "Then when Central Michigan offered me it really hit me that I was picking up scholarship offers already. It's a great feeling to add those offers and it's also great motivation. Getting those offers just makes me want to work harder and to keep proving myself."

Recruiting News and Notes: Mariano Sori-Marin commits to Minnesota

Recruiting News and Notes: Mariano Sori-Marin commits to Minnesota

Mariano Sori-Marin (OLB), Providence Catholic

Providence Catholic junior outside linebacker Mariano Sori-Marin (6-foot-2, 225 pounds) added a recent offer from Minnesota and gave the Gophers his verbal commitment late last week.

"It's been pretty overwhelming," Sori-Marin said. "Minnesota just offers the best fit for me so I committed. Minnesota also offers strong academics, plus they also play in the Big Ten. After I visited, I knew that Minnesota is a great place to be so I talked it over with my family and I committed."

Sori-Marin, who missed nearly the entire 2016 season after suffering an injury in Week 1, went from largely under the radar to Gophers pledge in a hurry. 

"Both my recruiting coach at Minnesota (Brian Callahan) and the defensive coordinator (Robb Smith) came to watch one of my workouts in person a few weeks ago," Sori-Marin said. "The Minnesota coaches called me a few days later and invited me to come up and make a campus visit. I went to Minnesota last week with my parents for a visit and they offered me before we left campus. We went home and talked it over and gave it a few days to sink in. Minnesota is just a great fit for me and I'm very excited to be committed to the University of Minnesota."

Sori-Marin is now the third Illinois verbal pledge to Minnesota's Class of 2018, joining Glenbard North defensive back Tyrik Henderson and Marist defensive tackle Elijah Teague.

Denver Warren (DT), West Aurora

West Aurora freshman defensive tackle Denver Warren (6-foot-3, 285 pounds) has been highly impressive on the camp circuit. Warren added his first two scholarship offers last weekend from Iowa State and Central Michigan.

"It's awesome to add two offers already," Warren said. "I spoke with the coaches at Iowa State on Saturday and then about a half hour later I also talked to Central Michigan and they also extended me an offer. I'm just really excited and so is my family."

Warren, who played for Aurora Christian last season before transferring to West Aurora, has also started to draw more recruiting attention after adding his first two offers. 

"I've had 5-6 different college coaches start to follow me on Twitter right after I tweeted out my offers," Warren said.

[RELATED: Recruiting news and notes - Fenwick's Mike O'Laughlin headed to West Virginia]

Jaylan Alexander (ILB), Hoffman Estates

Hoffman Estates junior inside linebacker Jaylan Alexander (6-foot-2, 225 pounds) has added several scholarship offers and increased recruiting attention this spring. 

"I have offers so far from NIU, Western Kentucky, Illinois State, Eastern Michigan, Western Illinois, Central Michigan and Bowling Green," Alexander said. "We've also been seeing a lot of college coaches in school this spring. Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Central Michigan, NIU, Illinois, Western Kentucky and a few others have all been in so far. Most of the coaches come and watch our team workouts. Michigan State has also invited me to come and camp with them this summer."

Alexander also is lining up his summer college one-day camp schedule.

"I'm planning to go to the North Central College camp with Minnesota and then the following day when Iowa State is at NCC," Alexander said. "I'm also going to the Northwestern showcase camp and also NIU for a one day camp."

Alec Pierce (WR), Glenbard West

Glenbard West junior wide receiver Alec Pierce (6-foot-3, 191 pounds) has a half dozen scholarship offers, along with several BCS schools paying close attention to him.

"We've seen a lot of coaches in school so far," Pierce said. "Most of the college coaches come into school in the morning to watch our morning workouts. Illinois was in school, along with Minnesota, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Boston College, Northwestern and Wisconsin over the past week. It also seems like the entire Mid-American conference as been in school this spring."

Pierce has scholarship offers from Illinois State, Fordham, Central Michigan, Columbia, South Dakota and Western Illinois.